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My Broken Samsung TV, how corporations force you to buy new (Update)

(If you have read all of this before, then skip to the last paragraph for the update.)

I will continue to complain about corporations until corporations fix their basic problem. Simply put – we don’t count. We, American consumers, only count when we’re buying new stuff. Otherwise, we are nothing. Corporations pretend to give service but they really don’t. They waste our time so that we get frustrated and finally buy something new.

So, back in November, I bought this 51-inch Samsung TV. Nice picture. Good size. High definition. Two weeks ago, I sat down to watch some football and the TV turned itself off and on, then off and on again, and then the screen went blank. Nothing. “This isn’t good,” I thought.

I called HH Gregg. I called them because they were the company that I bought the TV from and I had also purchased an extended warranty. After negotiating through multiple different prompts, I get some “service center” who will be happy to send somebody out to look at my TV in five days. Five days? That really doesn’t sound reasonable. Okay, I will wait for five days. Five days later, the serviceman comes out, looks at the TV and decides that the TV needs some new parts. Of course, he doesn’t have the parts. So he’s going to have to order the parts. We are told to call him back when the parts come in. He leaves. He does not give us his name. He does not give us a business card. We get nothing. Five days later, the parts arrive. Now, we get to the good part. Who do we call to let them know that the parts have come in?

I call HH Gregg. That was the company that I called before, so I foolishly thought that’s the company I should call again. After going through multiple prompts, I get to a bewildered service person who puts me on hold several times and asks for a lot of information only to tell me that he’s going to have to transfer me to someone who can help me with my problem. I get transferred back to the initial prompt at HH Gregg. Basically, I’m back to square one. I go through the various prompts once again and I get to another bewildered service person. I give him lots of information only to be placed on hold several more times and then I’m told I need to be transferred to Samsung. Somewhat frustrated, I agree to be transferred to Samsung. 20 minutes have passed. (more…)

By |2012-10-10T06:45:53-04:00October 9th, 2012|Business, General|5 Comments

The problem with our economy

Job numbers are coming out today. I suspect that they will be a bummer.

From Robert Reich:

The Stalled Recovery

The U.S. economy was supposed to be in bloom by late spring but it’s hardly growing at all. Expectations for second quarter growth aren’t much better than the measly 1.8 percent annualized rate of the first quarter.

That’s not nearly fast enough to reduce our ferociously-high level of unemployment. The Labor Department will tell us Friday whether the jobs situation improved in May, but there’s been no sign of a surge in hiring. Nor in wages. Average hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory employees – who make up 80 percent of non-government workers – are lower than they were in the depths of the recession, adjusted for inflation.

Meanwhile, housing prices continue to fall. They’re now 33 percent below their 2006 peak. That’s a bigger drop than recorded in the Great Depression. Homes are the largest single asset of the American middle class, so as housing prices drop many Americans feel poorer. All of this is contributing to a general gloominess. Not surprisingly, consumer confidence is also down.

The recovery has stalled. It’s unlikely America will find itself back in recession but the possibility of a double dip can’t be dismissed.

The Problem of Demand

The problem isn’t on the supply side of the ledger. Corporate profits are still healthy. Big companies continue to sit on a cash hoard. Large and middle-sized companies can easily borrow more, at low rates.

The problem is on the demand side. American consumers, who constitute 70 percent of the total economy, can’t and won’t buy enough to get it moving. They justifiably worry they won’t be able to pay their bills or afford to send their children to college or to retire. Banks, with equal justification, are reluctant to lend to them. But as long as consumers hold back, companies remain reluctant to hire new workers or raise the wages of current ones, feeding the vicious cycle.

The timing is unfortunate. Foreign consumers won’t help much even if the dollar continues to slide. Europe’s debt crisis and embrace of austerity, Japan’s tragedy, and China’s fiscal tightening have reduced global demand. At the same time, the federal stimulus here has about run its course. The Federal Reserve is about to end its $600 billion of purchases of Treasury bills, designed to bring down long-term interest rates and make it easier for homeowners to refinance. Worse yet, state governments – starved for revenue and constitutionally barred from running deficits – continue to cut programs. Local governments are now in worse shape, laying off platoons of teachers and fire fighters. (more…)

By |2011-06-03T06:33:25-04:00June 3rd, 2011|Economy|Comments Off on The problem with our economy

Obama is on the right track

In my opinion, there are lots of reasons to love the Rachel Maddow Show.  Maddow is really the only true progressive on the air today. I put Keith Olbermann in a category of populist more than progressive.

At any rate, her look at President-elect Barack Obama‘s speech on the economy is truly progressive. She compares Barack Obama’s vision to Ronald Reagan’s. Ronald Reagan proclaimed that the government was the problem. This has been the dominant etiology of the United States and economic political thought for almost 30 years. Now, in this crisis, Barack Obama is stating that the government is the only agency that has the ability to fix this problem.

Some spending conservatives (blue dog Democrats and fiscal conservative Republicans) are trying to argue that spending cuts and tax cuts are what we need.  Here’s the problem — manufacturing is down because demand for American products is down. American consumers are not buying. American businesses are shedding jobs. Remember we lost over a half a million jobs in November. December’s job numbers are expected to be the same. Tax cuts are not going to stimulate buying. Tax cuts are not going to stimulate enough job growth. Targeted government spending will get businesses to begin to hire here at home to cover these government contracts. Businesses will then in turn have to buy supplies in order to do business which would stimulate more the economy. Individuals hired at a “fair” rate will then be able to spend money again stimulating the economy.

I believe that Barack Obama is on the right track. I’m just hoping that his powers of persuasion will be enough to pull Congress along with him.

By |2009-01-08T23:35:23-04:00January 8th, 2009|Economy, Media, Obama administration|Comments Off on Obama is on the right track
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